Careful installation is necessary to achieve a good-looking product. Carelessness, insufficient help, or lack of experience can result in broken pieces or a less than desirable installation job.
Basically, you have two choices:
1. Hire a professional there are people who have experience installing granite counters. If they dont specialize specifically in granite, sometimes a tile installer or kitchen installer can also do the counters. Charges should range in the $8 to $10 per SF range.
2. Do it yourself We will attempt to describe the process here, however, please read everything carefully so you can make a good decision as to whether you can tackle this job. We highly recommend installation by a professional. This professional might be found in the yellow pages or other business directory under granite counters, kitchen counters, but even some individuals who do tile installation and carpentry may have the tools and skills to install your counters.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
Granite can span 24" and can cantilever 14". Provide wood blocking and support for larger gaps.
Make sure the granite is at room temperature. If it is cold, moisture may condense and the silicone wont stick properly.
CAREFULLY uncrate your granite. Granite will receive its most stress during uncrating and installing, which means if it is going to break at all, it will be during this time. Your crate will be constructed with screws. Unscrew sequentially and remove pieces one at a time. Make sure you have a place to put each piece. ALWAYS carry and store each piece vertically. Have some cardboard and/or carpet straps available to set the pieces down.
Continue with the next adjoining piece. Be sure to put a bead of silicone on the joint between pieces.
If you run into fit problems perhaps your template was not quite accurate, you may have to adjust your seam with a new cut with a diamond saw. This is a rather major procedure and should be left to the experts.
Sometimes a fit problem can be remedied by cutting a small channel into the drywall to fit the granite. Drywall will be thicker at seams and in the corners and can result in an uneven fit unless the drywall has a channel to fit the granite.
Make sure you have plenty of hands available to maneuver the granite from a vertical carry into a horizontal position. Without sufficient support, you could crack a piece.
Some seams without sufficient support or in a high stress area should be joined with epoxy instead of silicone. You may have to temporarily support or brace pieces until the epoxy or silicone is set.
Undermount Sinks are best installed to the granite counter before the granite is installed. First, lay the granite piece in place and make sure it fits correctly and that the sink has all necessary clearances to fit. You may have to cut some wood of the cabinets away for sufficient clearance. Check also at this time for clearances for faucets and other plumbing. Again, you may have to trim some wood.
Make sure the granite has been at room temperature for at least 4 hours and is dry. If not, the sealant may not adhere properly.
Backsplashes are installed by placing a bead of silicone along the top edge to adhere to the wall and a bead along the bottom for sealing and adhering to the counter. You may discover that your drywall is not a straight surface this is common since drywall compound is built up in joints and at corners. You may have to cut into the drywall with your utility knife to situate the backsplash with a minimum of gaps. You can test this ahead of hand with your 4 straight edge or your string.
Some additional information about...
Adjustments: Occasionally, your templates could be in error and the granite needs to be adjusted or cut. After cutting, you may have to polish the cut, which also requires special tools and equipment. Granite can only be cut with special diamond blade saws and drills. Unless you have the equipment and experience to accomplish this task, it would be better to hire this done professionally.